Basics of IOS Application Penetration Testing

Basics of IOS Application Penetration Testing

Basics of IOS Application Penetration Testing

iOS is the second most popular operating system for mobile devices in the world. Once you’ve developed your iOS apps, you’ll often have to check them for known and unknown security vulnerabilities. In this post, we will look at the most popular iOS testing tools for iOS applications.

However, there aren’t as many tools for testing iOS penetration as there are for Android, because strict iOS security rules don’t allow you to publish these apps to the App Store. So you have to get out of jail on your iPhone before you can install these iPhone hacking apps and tools.

When it comes to iOS application penetration testing, keep in mind that jailbreaking your iPhone voids your device’s warranty and is a potential security risk that could result in data loss on your iPhone.

iOS Penetration Testing: Approach, Process, and Tools

1. Have a Goal

You need to know what constitutes a mobile application before pen testing it. You need to test three constituents — the application, the API, and the server that hosts the API. Then again, you need to test the network communication and permission-related inconsistencies.

So, confirm whether the application seeks excessive permissions that can be used for malicious purposes. Other potential flaws include source code issues, erratic security configurations, in-app configuration errors, and insecure data storage. So, you need to figure out which areas you wish to pentest and then proceed further.

2. Threat Analysis

Now that you have laid the foundation for penetration testing by identifying common issues, it is time to plan a more comprehensive threat analysis.

This involves reviewing application architecture, checking app resources, analyzing third-party interaction, etc. For this, you must finalize a platform-specific or all-platform compatible testing software.

On the other hand, if you wish to pick something that works with Android and iOS applications, try the MobSF or Needle. Again, if you want to perform both static and dynamic analysis for Android and iOS apps, we recommend MobSF application only.

It is a rare threat analysis tool development process supporting both APK and IPA binaries and the zipped source code. Another great tool is the Quick Review Kit (QARK) developed by LinkedIn, which is improvised continuously.

3. Damage Assessment

Now that you have a fair idea about the mobile application’s vulnerabilities, it becomes easier to gauge how bad it can get. It is imperative to prioritize vulnerabilities that can result in something like a handset overtake or phishing.

A handset overtake is the most critical type of attack that provides the threat actor with complete access to the mobile device’s data. Phishing, however, involves inducing users to reveal their sensitive information under false pretexts. Other forms of security risks, security flaws, and cyberattacks include Cryptojacking (also called malicious Cryptomining), man-in-the-middle attacks, and Malvertising.

4. Test the Network

In the world of mobile app security, network attacks are the most widespread threat and must therefore be thoroughly investigated. They occur when the data is in transit between the client and the server because this is when jitters and packet loss occur.

You can dig into these issues using the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), yet another open-source penetration testing tool. In doing so, ensure that the authentication occurs via the SSL Certificate and not the HTTP, which can be easily intercepted.

5. Exploit Server-related Vulnerabilities!

The server which hosts the mobile application may contain potential vulnerabilities, which the pen tester must attempt to exploit.

Unless these are identified and fixed, the server-client communication may be leaked or exposed. You can locate such exploits by using network mapping tools such as Nmap, Angry IP Scanner, SolarWinds Port Scanner, Wireless Network Watcher, etc.

These tools allow you to detect other devices using the same network, open ports, and more. So, you can attempt to mimic attacks such as man-in-the-middle, packet sniffing, etc.

6. Attack the Source Code

The physical device and multiple devices attackers often manipulate the mobile application’s source code to gain unauthorized access to the device or steal data. The most common threat is SQL injection, which involves inserting malware in the form of data input, which is then executed and processed like other data. However, unlike other normal data, this malicious data injected by the threat actor transforms into executables.

Therefore, a pen tester must unpack the application package and confirm that no changes have been made to the binary configurations.

Another way to find issues with the source code via the iOS application pentesting is through reverse engineering, which involves decompiling the code from machine language to human-readable. It can then be examined for potential threats.

7. Check Encryption

Most mobile applications either make use of an outdated encryption algorithm or install a secure one incorrectly. In either case, the result is the same — weak encryption, which works to the threat actor’s advantage.

You need to ensure that the mobile application is not using ineffective and inefficient algorithms and iOS pentesting methodology like the

  • MD4
  • MD5
  • SHA-1
  • DES
  • 3DES
  • RC2, and RC4.

None of these keep the client-server exchange safe, so use something reliable like the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or SHA-2 algorithms. Also, ensure that those are correctly configured and installed.

8. Reporting

Now that you have launched attacks and identified vulnerabilities, it is time to document them properly. This must provide a complete summary of the discovery process, environment creation tools, exploits manipulated, and your findings.

Finally, recommend remediation measures that can strengthen the security of the mobile application. Do not go too deep into the technicalities because this is usually meant for the top management.

Consider remediation measures that can strengthen the security of the mobile application. Do not go too deep into the technicalities because this is usually meant for the top management.

The Value of iOS Penetration Testing

iOS app security testing conducted by reputable security vendors will allow companies to assess the security of their sensitive data applications against common and less common security threats. iOS devices testing allows companies to detect vulnerabilities (in local data storage included) such as insecure communications, sensitive data, injections, insecure direct object links, and other vulnerabilities that could be compromised by attackers.

iOS application security testing also identifies vulnerabilities in the data warehouse that can allow hackers to steal sensitive user information, such as bank account information or location information.

The Pentest iOS device and application also allows companies to verify that management tools such as SSL / TLS are properly implemented, and thus whether they can ensure data integrity and confidentiality. When testing for iOS app penetration, our experts will help you determine the functionality of your mobile apps, which could potentially allow users to access sensitive information from other apps or malware.

IOS application penetration testing also helps you verify that your mobile app’s authentication and authorization mechanisms are in place to prevent malicious users from performing unauthorized actions on the app.

Typically, pentesting iOS applications are the most effective way to test the security of your iOS apps before hackers try to hack them.


File system security has always been a major concern for businesses, and this concern is even greater when it comes to mobile applications to store sensitive data. Today, almost every leading brand or product has a mobile app to make it easier to communicate with their customers. In this article, we learned about the various iOS pentesting security application testing tools available on the market.

For crypto audit companies who are into iOS penetration testing, security testing tools are always important according to the nature and requirements of each mobile application. However, these iPhone penetration testing tools are great for re-designing your iOS apps and testing Apple App Store. Finally, while some of these iPhone hacking data stored tools can be used for diagnostic purposes, some are potentially dangerous, so handle them with caution.